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Strategic Plan

Mission
The mission of the Law School Computing Services Department is to provide technology leadership and support to the School of Law, thus furthering the law school’s mission of providing a superb legal education.

Vision
The Law School Computing Services Department will be an essential element in advancing the strategic plan of the School of Law.  We will strive to be a technology leader at the University of Georgia as well as among law schools nation wide.  We will aspire always to provide optimal equipment and services to faculty, students, and staff, enabling them to work effectively, efficiently, and independently.  We will plan for the future, assuring even in times of exigency the law school’s technology resources are wisely deployed and used.  We will set a high standard of excellence for responsiveness, reliability, and service.

Values
We believe the services provided by the Law School Computing Services Department are crucial to the success of the School of Law.
We value honesty, integrity, and high ethical standards in our work with each other and with others.
We value personal responsibility and accountability.
We value both knowledge and wisdom.
We value reliable, steadfast service to our community.
We value creativity and individuality.
We value open communication and mutual respect.
We value balanced lives in which work, family, recreation, and altruistic pursuits play roles of similar importance.
We value personal and professional growth.

Current Environment and Services

  • Computing Services consists of 5.5 full-time staff members supplemented by 60 hours of student work per week
  • We support approximately 200 desktop PCs and 5 mission-critical servers
    • a server for use by faculty and staff
    • a library system server
    • an RFID security system
    • a  web server for the School of Law website
    • a server  for our administrative database services (CARS)
  • Major services we support include:
    • Extensive wireless network throughout our 3 buildings
    • Exams administered via the laptops
    • Multimedia equipment (touch screen control of PC, overhead projection, DVD player, laptop connections and wireless microphones) in all law school classrooms
    • Student portal services such as online grades, point allocation and online directory of personal information
    • Public calendar and information kiosk system
    • Law school web site including design and facilitation of content creation by appropriate offices

Goals and Objectives

Goal 1.  Preserve and strengthen network and system integrity

Objective a.  Develop and implement a disaster recovery plan
Objective b.  Provide maximum protection against virus threats
Objective c.  Protect user privacy
Objective d.  Lockout and detect intruders
Objective e.  Improve web applications and programs testing
Objective f.   Evaluate network monitoring tools

Goal 2.  Optimize CARS portal functionality

Objective a.  Develop faculty portal
Objective b.  Develop staff portal
Objective c.  Expand student portal
Objective d.  Develop an alumni portal
Objective e.  Expand testing resources
Objective f.   Develop role of "local CARS experts"

Goal  3.  Improve Communication

Objective a.  Expand feedback and evaluation opportunities
Objective b.  Provide documentation of our own work
Objective c.  Expand user education opportunities
Objective d.  Remain informed from outsiders
Objective e.  Publicize accomplishments
Objective f.   Expand resources available on the computing services website

Goal 4.  Improve Student Support

Objective a.  Implement wireless printing
Objective b.  Efficiently route student help requests
Objective c.  Improve lab and public PC maintenance
Objective d.  Implement a separate server for student use
Objective e.  Administer Examsoft via network

Goal 5.  Empower our users

Objective a.  Promote off campus access to local files
Objective b.  Promote user education
Objective c.  Enable administrative departments to develop and publish their own web pages
Objective d.  Promote technology solutions to faculty

Goal 6.  Simplify Resource Management and Tracking

Objective a.  Improve our hardware and software inventory
Objective b.  Plan upgrades to avoid obsolescence


Goal 1.  Preserve and strengthen network and system integrity

Network integrity is our highest priority.  Network failure can shut down all computing within the law school.  Since the network has the potential to be a single point of failure, we must be vigilant in safeguarding its health.

Objective a.  Develop and implement a disaster recovery plan

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning is a vital activity in today's environmental and political climate.

Solutions:

  • Collect as much information as possible about our operating environment, applications, hardware and services.
  • Determine what services are most critical to the daily operation of the organization.
  • Assign individuals to handle various aspects of the recovery. 
  • Provide additional information to inform a recovery team who to contact for specific information regarding services, software, etc.

Objective b.  Provide maximum protection against virus threats

According to an article posted at ZDNet, companies lost roughly $20 billion to $30 billion in 2002 from virus attacks.   There are more than 36,000 known viruses and an average of 10-15 new ones appearing every day.  Since our IT infrastructure is mission-critical, it is imperative that we educate our users about virus threats.  We must also update our virus-protection tools to provide the utmost protection available.

Solutions:

  • Improve our communication regarding viruses as well as the availability of virus software.
    • Add a link to virus protection software to wireless login screen.
    • Add the latest virus security warnings to an announcement screen on the wireless login screen.
    • Configure law school desktops to automatically update Windows operating system.
    • Add installation of current virus protection software as a step in the wireless network card installation instructions.
    • Develop a kiosk message and an e-mail with basic virus protection info.
  • Migrate our virus protection software from Norton AV to F-Secure. 

Objective c.  Protect user privacy

The incidence of identity theft has been steadily rising.  We must make every effort to reduce identity theft and to protect the privacy of individuals.  

Solutions:

  • Avoid the use of social security numbers as much as possible in our databases, for example in the library system, etc.   
  • Use secure socket layer for MyID and any transmission of private student information. 
  • Remind users of the importance of password security.

Objective d.  Improve intruder lockout and detection

Intruder access could disrupt our mission critical applications and has the potential to  be  devastating.   In order to improve security, specific solutions are not detailed below (we don't want the hackers to see our plans).

Objective e.  Improve web applications and programs testing

New web services have the potential to vastly improve the academic environment for our users, but we must ensure that our web services will operate flawlessly and stand up to the rigors of everyday usage. 

Solutions:

  • Request beta-testing and feedback from the SBA technology committee.
  • Develop standards such as code reuse in order to create programming that is more uniform and modular.
  • Use student workers to test programs more thoroughly. 

Objective f.  Evaluate network monitoring tools

Most organizations are not adequately prepared to deal with intrusions. They are likely to address the need to prepare and respond only after a breach occurs. The result is that when an intrusion is detected, many decisions are made in haste and can reduce an organization's ability to understand the extent and source of an intrusion, protect sensitive data contained on systems, recover systems, and support legal investigations.

Solutions:

  • Expand the use of our network monitoring tools. 
  • Determine if we need to add additional tools.

Goal 2.  Optimize CARS portal functionality

By 2006 the Gartner Group predicts that more than 80% of universities with more than 1,000 students will have enterprise portals.  My Georgia Law is a portal web site designed to provide the University of Georgia law school community with secure, personalized access to CARS data.   My Georgia Law is a strategic asset for the School of Law that allows us to capitalize upon relationships from cradle-to-grave.

Objective a.  Develop faculty portal

Our intent is to empower UGA law faculty by meeting their diverse pedagogical needs - ranging from daily classroom management tasks to student advisement.

Solutions:

  • Develop a link to "My Classes" with a list of students and photos in each faculty member's class. 
  • Provide ability to email entire class.   
  • By the end of Spring Semester provide the ability to submit grades online. 
  • Future development:  provide relevant information re: advisees such as classes taken, grades, etc. 

Objective b.  Develop staff portal

The purpose of the staff portal is to provide easily accessible information for every facet of a staff member's job.  A properly developed staff portal can drive process transformations that result in cost efficiencies.

Solutions:

  • provide view-only access to online law alumni directory. 
  • Survey staff to identify other information needs that could be met by the portal.

Objective c.  Expand student portal

Student portals provide online access to grades,class schedules etc.   The introduction of our student portal, My Georgia Law, has been well-received but current functionality is limited.

Solutions:

  • Integrate point allocation process
  • Include random numbers for exams
  • Include individualized Examsoft functions such as registration status and exam selection.

Objective d.  Develop an alumni portal

An alumni portal is an ideal method for establishing a personalized, long-term relationship between our alumni and  the School of Law.

Solutions:

  • Allow alumni to search online alumni directory. 
  • Provide ability for alumni to change personal information .
  • Develop the ability for alumni to view ticket orders.

Objective e.  Expand testing resources

CARS services have the potential to vastly improve the  environment for our users, but we must ensure that our newly developed services will operate flawlessly and stand up to the rigors of everyday usage. 

Solution:

  • Obtain and implement a CARS test server. 

Objective f.  Develop role of "local CARS experts"

CARS end-users have developed special knowledge or subject expertise in the areas for which they have administrative work responsibilities.  Oftentimes, the end-user has  unique knowledge.   We should increase our efforts to capitalize upon this knowledge.

Solutions:

  • Form a users group to exchange CARS tips. 
  • Revitalize the CARS task force. 
  • Develop and implement CARS data entry standards.

Goal  3.  Improve Communication

Conveying technical information to non-technical employees is one of the biggest challenges we face in computing services.  To excel as technical professionals, we need to learn how to communicate our ideas and work effectively with others.   Communication is one of the most effective tools for building trust and respect from our colleagues in the law school.

Objective a.  Expand feedback and evaluation opportunities

In order to enhance the academic environment for our constituents and improve the efficiency of our staff, we need to continually be aware of the needs and requests of our users.

Solutions:

  • Coordinate with Faculty Services Librarian to include survey questions regarding technology in faculty interviews. 
  • Survey students in March and quickly publish the results. 
  • Provide more one-to-one faculty training. 
  • Develop a listserv for CARS users.
  • Survey staff.

Objective b.  Provide documentation of our own work

The purpose of program documentation is to allow other programmers to perform program maintenance at some later date. 

Solution:

  • Continue to provide documentation as well as expanding comments in all in-house developed programs.

Objective c.  Expand user education opportunities

Computer skills can become quickly obsolete.  In order to remain efficient and competetive, our faculty, staff and students must keep up with ever-changing technology.

Solutions:

  • Continue to advertise UGA staff training and development sessions. 
  • Provide regular training sessions for staff. 
  • Invite Faculty Services Librarian to regular Monday computing services meetings to help us bridge communications with faculty members.

Objective d.  Remain informed from outsiders

Very few of our technology dilemmas are unique to the University of Georgia School of Law.  Coordination of efforts with campus organizations and other law schools will allow us to develop uniform solutions and will in turn improve support for solutions.   The investment of time, effort and costs will yield long-term savings especially in times of budget uncertainty. 

Solutions:

  • Provide at least minimal representation at each CALI annual meeting. 
  • Send more members to CALI as budget permits. 
  • Appoint a staff representative to make  UGANET meetings a high priority. 
  • Appoint a staff representative to make Novell meetings a high priority.
  • Appoint a staff representative to make ITMF meetings a high priority.

Objective e.  Publicize accomplishments

Oftentimes we develop technology solutions yet only discuss them with the users who presented a dilemma.  Frequently, these solutions could be beneficial to other users if they were aware of the solutions.

Solutions:

  • Request assistance from Communications & Public Relations Director.
  • Make more use of kiosk announcements.

Objective f.  Expand resources available on the computing services website

Unfortunately, the computing services web pages are lesser developed than many of  our other law school web pages.  Well-developed web pages with readily available suggestions, advice and solutions could reduce requests for Help Desk assistance.

Solutions:

  • Include virus software links and explain our security measures. 
  • Link to EITS virus warnings. 
  • List e-shop contact information for support. 
  • Advise users to take advantage of their PC warranties.
  • Establish basic rules:  we don't install operating systems such as Windows.  Nor do we provide hardware installation such as broken keys on keyboards.
  • Review FAQ and update if necessary. 
  • Promote online help form.

Goal 4.  Improve Student Support

Law students now expect seamless access to technology in all aspects of their student life.  Wireless access, the administration of exams via laptops and the increase in student laptop ownership has caused an explosive demand for technology support from our students.

Objective a.  Implement wireless printing

Our wireless network implementation has been hugely successful.  However, students have emphasized to us that they need to be able to easily print from their laptops to our lab laser printers.

Solutions:

  • Install new student server to enable network printing.
  • Determine best solution for student server access. (Web-based?  Install clients on each laptop?)
  • Establish support standards such as no Macs and only Windows 2000 & above.

Objective b.  Efficiently route student help requests

Proper help request routing can help us utilize more expensive staff time for complex problems.  Help Desk student workers should handle routine student laptop problems.  Complicated problems should be referred to full-time staff. 

Solutions:

  • Encourage students to try following provided instructions first.  If unsuccessful, then seek help from the student workers at Computing Services Help Desk. 
  • Prominently post student workers' hours of availability. 
  • Develop a web application for posting student worker schedule on our intranet. 
  • Create a clearly defined Help Desk area  Add a nameplate labeled  "Help Desk Assistant" to be displayed while student workers are working.

Objective c.  Improve lab and public PC maintenance

PCs  in our labs and public area are heavily used.  Since these PCs are often viewed as the "public face" of computing services, they need to be user-friendly and consistently maintained.  

Solutions:

  • Improve the current ghost image. 
  • Implement an active web desktop to provide more content on the desktop, for example - logout button.
  • Post signs when equipment has been removed for maintenance.

Objective d.  Implement a separate server for student use

We have recently acquired a server specifically for student use.  This server will be completely separate from the server used by faculty and staff.  It will allow us to implement wireless laptop printing and limit our labs to law students only.

Solutions:

  • Implementing wireless laptop printing is our top priority. 
  • Allocate file storage space to students.
  • Use server authentication to limit labs to law students only.  
  • Promote use of memory sticks rather than floppy diskettes.

Objective e.  Administer Examsoft via network

Our students and faculty have quickly adapted to exams being administered via laptops.  However, as the use of this option has become more popular, we have had to purchase, format and track more and more diskettes.  As the number of diskettes increase, the administration of exams becomes more and more unwieldy. 

Solution:

  • Use the wireless network and new student server for administering exams via laptop.

Goal 5.  Empowering our users

Technology is a tool that should empower users.  Enabling and empowering our users should result in more economical, efficient, and effective processes.

Objective a.  Provide off campus access to local files 

Our faculty and staff have requested the ability to access local files from off campus locations.    We cannot compromise the security and integrity of our local data so solutions must be bullet-proof.

Solutions:

  • Test ePortfolio.
  • Investigate iFolder.

Objective b. Promote user education

Technology is constantly changing.  Our faculty and staff must continually update their technology skills in order to remain computer literate by today's standards.

Solutions:

Objective c.  Enable administrative departments to develop and publish their own web pages

The number of web pages contained in the University of Georgia School of Law website has exceeded the capacity for a small web team to effectively manage.  We hope to empower and enable administrative departments to communicate faster, better and cheaper.  Using web technology rather than paper, ink and postage to communicate everything from deadlines to logistical information could save us literally thousands of dollars.

Solution:

  • Investigate new options for web page development such as Dreamweaver or Samba

Objective d.  Promote technology solutions to faculty

Our faculty has many diverse pedagogical needs.  Consequently,  individual needs assessment and training is often the best method for promoting technology to our faculty.

Solution:

  • Encourage our new Faculty Services Librarian to promote the use of technology to faculty members.

Goal 6.  Simplify Resource Management and Tracking

Inventorying, assessing and upgrading our technology resources is the key to reducing costs, improving efficiencies and capitalizing upon our current technology investment.   The objective of resource management is to reduce cost while increasing overall efficiency.

Objective a.  Improve our hardware and software inventory

An accurate hardware and software inventory worksheet provides a portrait of our overall capacity and range of workstations.  We can avoid buying redundant technologies or incompatible technologies and assess whether any of our current technology is obsolete.  Furthermore,  software not in compliance with authorized ownership puts the University in jeopardy of litigation by software manufacturers.

Solutions:

  • Send outdated property to UGA Surplus Property.
  • Investigate using Zenworks to track software versions installed.  
  • Separate computing services inventory from the law school inventory.  Can we make a separate Legal Aid inventory?

Objective b.  Plan upgrades to avoid obsolescence

A plan is required to manage any project in the most efficient manner.   Spur of the moment, haphazard and partial upgrades are much more difficult to implement and support than thoughtful, carefully planned upgrades.

Personal computers will be replaced every three years using the regular c.s. budget as follows (in this order of priority):

(a) All full-time employees who need it
(b) Part-time student employees who need it
(c) Visiting professors
(d) Adjunct professors who have offices in the law school
(e) Emeritus professors who have offices in the law school

Personal computers will be replaced every three years using the student tech fee as follows (in this order of priority):

(a) Student labs
(b) Student organizations and clinics

Solutions:

  • Upgrade all server hardware and software in a timely manner.
  • Upgrade to MS IE and Outlook because users have become more and more frustrated with Netscape.  
  • Investigate whether we should move away from WordPerfect 8.
    • Word is now available for free in the Microsoft Campus Plan.
    • Ask alumni in upcoming legal research survey whether they use Word or WordPerfect. 
  • List various software packages and versions we support on our web pages.